Liberatore, McEachron, Cook, Mitzelfelt lead 8th District spending
May 31, 2012 8:42 AM
Brooke Edwards Staggs, City Editor

Candidate Paul Cook has brought in the most donations in his run for the newly created 8th Congressional District seat, with $184,428 raised as of the latest reports on file with the Federal Election Commission.

However, Phil Liberatore has spent more than twice as much money as Cook on his campaign leading up to Tuesday’s primary election, amassing nearly $1 million in debt going back to an unsuccessful 2010 run and with nearly $400,000 spent on the current race.

Liberatore’s spending spree has drawn heated criticism from competitors who claim he’s trying to “buy his seat” through pricey billboards, robocalls, call-in town hall meetings and a “farmer’s legacy tour” of the 8th District, which encompasses the High Desert and parts of Inyo and Mono counties.

The majority of Liberatore’s $46,614 in contributions are from Orange County and Los Angeles area donors. The accountant from Whittier has also loaned himself $250,000 and his campaign is nearly $100,000 in the red, according to his FEC reports.

Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron takes a distant second place for the most money spent during this campaign, with his $174,863 narrowly beating out Cook, an Assemblyman from Yucca Valley. But McEachron loaned himself more than two-thirds of that money while Cook and challenger Brad Mitzelfelt are the only candidates who’ve raised more in donations than they’ve spent on their campaigns.

Mitzelfelt, who currently serves as 1st District Supervisor for San Bernardino County, has raised $148,300 and spent $115,079. He also owes $47,500 in loans, including $30,000 to himself.

Those four Republicans are far ahead in terms of fundraising in the pack of 13 candidates, which marks the most hotly contested congressional race in the state.

Angela Valles, a Republican who currently serves on the Victorville City Council, has spent $41,393 on her race. However, the FEC reports show only $3,475 is from outside contributions.

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